Assessment Alley: Third Grade Literacy Profile

Reading Accuracy and Fluency at Increasing Text Levels

Literacy Profile
What Third Graders Should Know
Phonological Awareness and Oral Language Development
Concepts of Print, Letter Identification, and Text Features
Decoding Skills and Word Analysis
Reading Strategies, Processes, and Dispositions
Reading Accuracy and Fluency at Increasing Text Levels
Comprehension and Reading Response
Writing Strategies, Processes, and Dispositions
Writing Effectiveness
Writing Conventions and Handwriting
Related Resources
Meet the Author


Reading accuracy and fluency includes the percentage of words students read correctly and how expressively they read them.  Fluency involves automaticity, phrasing, expression, and rate.  Text level influences a student's performance; therefore, accuracy and fluency may decrease as text becomes more challenging.

At third grade, these skills may include:

        reading titles such as Freckle Juice,  Cam Jansen, The Stories Julian Tells, and Ramona the Brave

        reading grade level books with 90-97% accuracy

        reading 100-125 grade level words per minute


Quick Text Level Check-In

The Quick Text Level Check-In is perfect for assessing third grade readers because it is similar to a running record, but also involves a fluency rubric and a basic comprehension check. This tool is very easy to administer and score; it can be administered during an individual reading conference in less than ten minutes.  Results from this assessment can be used to design interventions related to word accuracy, fluency, and comprehension.


View Quick Text Level Check-In directions and forms here.


Reading A-Z Fluency Sentences fluency sentences are quick assessments used to determine students' words per minute, accuracy, expression, and comprehension.  Students read 18 sentences and then answer true/false statements about the sentences. There are three of these assessments, each with increasingly more difficult sentences.


The student reads the sentences aloud while the teachers tracks time and marks errors (similar to running records). At the end of one minute the teacher calls time.  Simple calculations can then be used to determine words per minute, word accuracy, and comprehension.  The teacher also makes notes about the student's reading expression.


View a sample fluency sentence form here or visit's website.


Ample opportunities to read and reread a variety of inviting books and other text materials, along with high-quality, explicit instruction in decoding and strategy use and supported feedback are key ingredients for supporting student growth in the area of accuracy.  For promoting fluency, teacher-guided oral reading with feedback and repeated reading are frequently used practices (Biggam 132).

Talking Dictionary with Rereading

For students whose assessment results show poor word accuracy and slower rates of reading, more reading time is needed.  Allington believes children who are struggling: need to read a lot, need books they can read, need to learn to read fluently, and need to develop thoughtful literacy.  Biggam writes, "In order to catch up to their peers, they need to read more than children who are able to handle grade-level text" (134).


The Talking Dictionary approach may help these students. The student selects a just right book and reads aloud for one minute and silently for one minute.  While the student reads, the teacher keeps time and notes errors.  When the student encounters an unknown word, he asks the teacher for it.  In this way, the teacher is a "dictionary" for the student.  At the end of two minute, the teacher and student chart the total number of words read correctly (dividing the total number of words by 2).  They may also discuss a few of the unknown words.  This is repeated two more times the same day. The number of words read correctly should increase each time as the student reads further into the passage with each rereading.  This is repeated each day until the book is completed.


Click here to view a sample Talking Dictionary chart.


Phrased Text Lessons with Readers' Theater

Students whose assessment results show poor phrasing or expression skills will benefit from hearing a skilled reader.  Readers' Theater scripts are engaging tools for this technique.  After hearing the parts read aloud by the teacher and working together to mark the text passage with slashes for phrases, students can begin to practice their parts on the first day.  The next day, students can practice "scooping" under each phrase with their finger as they read.  At the end of the second day, phrase slashes can be erased. With practice, the goal is for students to read orally in meaningful phrases with expression.


I use Partner Poems for Building Fluency and Ann Hoberman's series to practice fluency in my classroom.

Last updated: April 16, 2009